Robot created to test chemical weapons gear

Boston Dynamics, a robotics company that frequently works with the U.S. military, recently unveiled its latest creation, a walking machine that is shaped like a human being and is expected to be used for testing protective gear against chemical weaponry.

The company, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, is expected to release video footage of a nearly fully completed robot named PETMAN. PETMAN is a two-legged, 180 pound machine that is nearly six feet tall, according to

PETMAN, an acronym for Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin, can move in ways similar to a human being and is expected to be seen on video walking on a treadmill in one of the company’s labs.  

The system is set to be delivered to the military as early as next year as part of an effort to develop equipment to protect soldiers from chemical weapons. Over the past few years, the military has invested heavily in robotic devices, some of which have already been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We’re absolutely turning a corner in robotics,’’ Marc Raibert, the president of 19-year-old Boston Dynamics, said, reports.

Boston Dynamics is, so far, best known for its four-legged BigDog robot, a machine that caused a sensation three years ago when it was shown keeping its balance on ice and after being kicked and shoved repeatedly.